Inside Skirt vs Outside Skirt Steak: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever got the munchies to cook delicious homemade fajitas? You enthusiastically purchased skirt steak from the grocery store, but once you took it home, the meat was really rough and nothing like the soft, delicate slices you have at your favorite restaurant.

It’s not that you’re a bad chef. The issue is that restaurants buy a completely different skirt steak than you do at the grocery.

Theres an inside, and then theres an outside skirt steak both look the same, both have very similar flavors, and both come from similar parts of the cow.

At the grocery store, youre more likely to find an inside skirt steak. The outside skirt steak is usually reserved for food service and thats the stuff restaurants are using.

So why are they called differently, and just how similar are they? That is the topic of this post, and we have some mind-blowing information to back it up. So let’s get right to it.

Difference Between Inside and Outside Skirt Steak

The main difference between inside and outside skirt steak is that inner skirt steak comes from the cumberbun muscle of the cow, while outside skirt steak comes from the cows muscular diaphragm.

Generally speaking, the muscle that makes up skirt steak is found in the cows chest and belly. This diaphragm cut from the cow is lengthy and has a lot of muscle tissue and marbling.

The flavor of both cuts is wonderful, however, the outer skirt steak has a slightly stronger taste. Both of them are also prepared in the same way boiled, roasted, or grilled quickly and at very hot temperatures.

Lets look at each difference in great detail.


The outside skirt steak is positioned between the sixth and twelfth ribs diagonally. It is covered by a membrane that has to be cut before cooking.

On the other hand, the inner skirt steak is positioned within the body wall, past the ribs, and across their lowest portion. It is usually sold with a thicker membrane making it much more recognizable.


Inside skirt steaks and outside skirt steaks are flat muscles that are around 2024 long and 37 wide.

The inside skirt steak is a little smaller in size. However, it is far thicker than the outside skirt steak, which is slightly longer and broader but thinner.

The inside steak skirt is typically sold with a tough fat and membrane that must be removed. An outer skirt steak will require less trimming because of its thicker and more sensitive membrane.

Every skirt steak has its own special benefit. The thinner outside skirt steak cooks more quickly and doesnt need as much cleanup. Marinade and searing work better with the inside skirt steaks thickness.

Texture & Flavor

The outside skirt steak is more flavorful, juicy, and soft than inner skirt. Given that it contains a significant amount of connective tissue fibers, the inner skirt steak has a somewhat chewy feel.

The inside skirt steak also contains that beefy flavor, but it typically isnt as tasty or soft as the outside skirt steak. As a result, the outside skirt steak is the more costly and sought-after cut.


Both steaks taste best when cooked over high heat. They are both extremely fatty beef slices, which makes them both incredibly moist and tasty.

The inner skirt steak will somewhat shrink in size and get very chewy during cooking since it is fattier and has a thicker membrane than the outer skirt steak.

The outside skirt steak remains the same size once cooked, and the texture is heavenly tender. These are the two most important reasons why restaurants choose outside skirt steak.

However, you may marinade the interior of the skirt steak to enhance its taste and tenderness. Even if the marinade doesnt penetrate the meats surface very deeply, if you allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking, the meat will undoubtedly absorb the flavors of the marinade.

Bonus point cutting the cooked meat against the grain and letting it rest is another crucial step toward softer meat. That way the inner fibers will be separated, and the skirt steak will become softer.


Outside skirt steak is more tasty and juicy, hence, it is more costly and in greater demand. As a result, professional kitchens buy the majority of the outside skirt steak, and some are also exported. This makes purchasing an outside skirt steak more challenging than getting an inside skirt steak.

Supermarkets typically sell only inside skirt steak. To find a high-quality piece of outside skirt steak, youll probably need to go to a specialist retailer or online store for instance, Meat n Bone, SnakeRiverFarms, and WildForkFoods. Expect to pay considerably more than the usual price for an inside skirt steak but nevertheless worth it.

Inside vs Outside Skirt Stake Comparison Table

Category Outside Steak Inside Steak
Location Muscle from the cow’s chest and belly Muscle from the cow’s chest and belly
Type of cut Between the sixth and twelfth ribs diagonally Within the body wall, past the ribs, and across their lowest portion
Length Longer Shorter
Width Wider Narrower
Thickness Thinner Thicker
Fat & muscular membrane Less fat & muscular membrane More fat and muscular membrane
Texture Tender & juicy Chewy & harder
Preferred way of cooking High-temperature grilling High-temperature grilling
Marinade Needs less time to marinade Needs more time to marinade
Size of the meat once cooked; Remains the same Shrinks and becomes smaller
Price More expensive Less expensive
Availability Less available More available

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

By looking at the nutritional table below, we can see that inside skirt steak has slightly fewer calories, fat, and sodium but a bit higher cholesterol levels than outside skirt steak.

Inside skirt steak has a little greater protein content. As a result, the inside skirt steak is a somewhat healthier alternative, although the differences in nutrition are minor and almost unrecognizable.

Inside and Outside Skirt Steak Nutritional Profile Comparison

Category (85g) Inside Skirt Steak Outside Skirt Steak
Calories 187 217
Carbs 0g 0g
Fat 10g 15g
Saturated fat 4g 6g
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4g 0.6g
Monounsaturated fat 5.1g 7.2g
Cholesterol 51 mg 50 mg
Sodium 64 mg 78 mg
Potassium 246 mg 322 mg
Protein 22g 20g
Fiber 0g 0g
Sugars 0g 0g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 0.7% 0.7%
Iron 13% 12%

Can I Substitute Inside Steak for Outside Steak & Vice Versa?

You can absolutely substitute inside skirt steak for outside and vice versa. However, if you want the inside skirt steak to be as juicy and soft as an outside one, you might want to make a few adjustments.

Prior to cooking, ensure that the outside skirt steak has marinated for at least 30 minutes. Allow it to rest for five to ten minutes, and dont overcook it. If you want to substitute an outside skirt steak for an inside one, youre in luck because you dont have to do literally anything and still achieve a better texture and flavor!

Similar comparison: Pork Sirloin vs Loin

The Best Marinade for Skirt Steak

While we are pretty sure most steaks taste great right off the grill, skirt steaks were made for the job they got a wide shape that provides plenty of surface area for picking up the beautiful charred, grilled flavor.

Our marinade recipe starts off with half a cup of fresh orange juice and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice. Next in line come six minced garlic cloves, and to flavor this, youll need a teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of dried oregano, and a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Finish with two tablespoons of soy sauce and two-quarters of a teaspoon of rock salt. Quickly mix everything, layer the steaks, and flip them over on each side to make sure theyre coated evenly.

That’s all there is to it. This marinate is ideal for preparing around four skirt steak slices. The steaks should marinate on a 139 baking dish because a bowl will make the steaks flop over, and the inner bits may not get marinated evenly.

Tips to Nail the Perfect Skirt Steak

Do you want to learn how to prepare the ideal skirt steak? Then follow these basic guidelines:

  • Remove the skirt steak from the refrigerator 10 minutes before cooking to allow it to rest.
  • Season it heavily since the moment it goes in the pan, 35% of the seasoning is lost
  • Consider the fragrance and include aromatics like crushed garlic, thyme, and rosemary
  • Make sure the steak has a fantastic sear and dont flip it over until it has a nice color since taste is only present when the meat develops a beautiful colored crust
  • Before removing the steak from the pan, add a little knob of butter, as it will caramelize and give the steak a lovely, nut-brown taste
  • Never cut a steak too thinly since the taste will be maximized and the meat will stay juicy with bigger pieces (at least half a centimeter thick)


Overall, outside steak is more delicious and tender, whereas inside skirt steak is chewier. Although they have comparable nutritional values, the inside skirt steak is said to have fewer calories.

The outer skirt steak is a rarer kind, so if you happen to find it, youre in for a treat. Just be prepared to pay a bit more to appreciate it.

However, an excellent marinade will make up for the flavor and lack of texture in the inside skirt steak. So try out our marinade recipe and see how it goes! Best wishes.


What is better outside or inside skirt steak?

Flavor: Outside skirt steak is more beefy and flavorful than inside skirt steak. Both, however, have a strong beef taste. Price: Outside skirt steak is more expensive than inside skirt steak because it is a more desirable and flavorful cut. You can typically find the more affordable inside skirt steak at grocery stores.

What is outside skirt steak good for?

Opposite the Inside Skirt Steak, this cut is known for its robust flavor profile. Marinate and grill hot for fajitas or use for stir-fry. Slicing beef against the grain is always important, but even more so for thin, coarse cuts such as the Skirt Steak.

What is inside skirt steak good for?

The inside skirt steak is the bigger of the two skirt steak varieties. This cut is an abdominal muscle and is rather tough, so it’s best for marinating, grilling, and slicing thin for fajitas or stir-fry.

Is inside skirt steak a good cut?

Is skirt steak a decent meat cut? Yes! Skirt steak is a very flavorful cut of meat with a bold, beefy flavor. Skirt steak can be a little tough due to the amount of connective tissue, so it needs careful preparation when cooking to maximize tenderness.

Which is more tender inside skirt or outside skirt?

Skirt steak comes in two varieties: inside and outside. The inside skirt comes from the transverse abdominal muscle and is rather tough; the more desirable outside skirt comes from the diaphragm and is quite tender.

Why is my skirt steak tough?

Skirt steak is shaped much the same, but tends to have a beefier flavor. But, this cut comes from the diaphragm muscles of the animal, making it a tougher piece of meat. It can become very chewy quickly, especially if it’s not cooked correctly.

Is inside or outside skirt steak better for fajitas?

While fajitas are traditionally made with outside skirt—part of the diaphragm muscle of the steer—the cut is pretty much unavailable unless you work for a restaurant that special-orders it. At the butcher’s or meat counter, you’re far more likely to find inside skirt, which will do us just fine.

What is another name for outside skirt steak?

Skirt steak is sometimes known as Romanian tenderloin, Romanian steak, Philadelphia steak, or Arrachera, but these names are most commonly used outside of the US.

Why is inside skirt steak so expensive?

Lots of marbling means that if you want your steak prepared rare, it’ll still be tender, probably even fork-tender. Prime beef accounts for around 2% of all beef produced. So its supply is scarce, and demand for it is high. That is why it is more pricey.

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